tv PBS News Hour PBS July 25, 2011 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: it's a time of high brinckmanship and high stakes in washington over the debt talks. good evening, i'm jeffrey brown. >> and i'm gwen ifill. in just a few moments president barack obama will address the nation from the east room of the white house it will be the 7th time he has done so since taking office. >> brown: front and center tonight, the administration's charged and tense negotiations with congressional republicans over the country's 14 trillion dollar debt ceiling, the amount the federal government is allowed to
borrow with a looming deadline of august 2nd, and the threat of a potential first ever default. we'll carry the president's speech in its entirety as well as a response that will follow from speaker of the house john boehner. his direct negotiations with the president broke down last friday. we have reached this point after weeks of face-to-face meetings at the white house and the capitol, with many hints of a deal, then no deal, deal and then again where we are at the moment, no deal. president obama is expected tonight to warn again, even more forcefully, about the potential damage to the nation of a credit ratings downgrade and a national default. and to outline his version of compromise through a mix of spending cuts and ref new increases. the president is approaching now. here, president of the united states. >> good evening. tonight i want to talk about the debate we've been having in washington over the national debt.
the debate that directly affects the lives of all americans. for the last decade we've spent more money than we take in. in the year 2000 the government had a budget surplus. but instead of using it to pay off our debt, the money was spent on trillions of dollars in new tax cuts, while two wars and an expensive prescription drug program were simply added to our nation's credit card. as a result, the deficit was on track to top $1 trillion the year i took office. to make matters worse, the recession meant that there was less money coming in and required us to spend even more. on tax cuts for middle-class families to spur the economy, on unemployment insurance, on aid to states so we could prevent more teachers and firefighters and police officers from being laid off. these emergency steps also added to the deficit. now every family knows a
little credit-card debt is manageable. but if we stay on the current path, our growing debt could cost us jobs and do serious damage to the economy. more of our tax dollars will go toward paying off the interest on our loans. businesses will be less likely to open up shop and hire workers in a country that can't balance its books. interest rate kos climb for every one without borrows money. the homeowner with a mortgage, the student with a college loan. the corner store that wants to expand. and we won't have enough money to make job creating investments in things like education and infrastructure, or pay for vital programs like medicare and medicaid. because neither party is blameless for the decisions that lead to this problem, both parties have a responsibility to solve it. and over the last several months that's what we've been trying to do. i won't bother you with the details of every plan or proposal. but basically the debate has centered around two
different approaches. the first approach says let's live within our means by making serious, historic cuts in government spending. let's cut domestic spending to the lowest level it's been since dwight eisenhower was president. let's cut defense spending at the pentagon by hundreds of billions of dollars. let's cut out waste and fraud in health-care programs like medicare. and at the same time let's make modest adjustments so that medicare is still there for future generations. finally, let's ask the wealthiest americans and biggest corporations to give up some of their brakes in the tax code and special deductions. this balanced approach asks everyone to give a little without requiring anyone to sacrifice too much. it would reduce the deficit by around 4 trillion dollars and put us on a path to pay down our debt. and the cuts wouldn't happen so abruptly that they would be a drag on our economy, or prevent us from helping
small businesses and middle-class families get back on their feet right now. this approach is also bipartisan. while many in my own party aren't happy with the painful cuts it makes, enough will be willing to accept them if the burden is fairly shared. while republicans might like to see deeper cuts and no revenue at all, there are many in the senate who have said yes, i'm willing to put politics aside and consider this approach because i care about solving the problem. and to his credit this is the kind of approach the republican speaker of the house john boehner was working on with me over the last several weeks. the only reason this balanced approach isn't on its way to becoming law right now is because a significant number of republicans in congress are insisting on a different approach, a cuts only approach. an approach that doesn't ask the wealthiest americans or biggest corporations to contribute anything at all.
and because nothing is asked of those at the top of the income scale, such an approach would close the deficit only with more severe cuts to programs we all care about. cuts that place a greater burden on working families. so the debate right now isn't about whether we need to make tough choices. democrats and republicans agree on the amount of deficit reduction we need. the debate is about how it should be done. most americans, regardless of political party, don't understand how we can ask a senior citizen to pay more for her medicare before we ask a corporate jet owner or the oil companies to give up tax breaks that other companies don't get. how can we ask a student who pay-- to pay more for college before we ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries. how request we slash funding for education and clean energy before we ask people like me to give up tax
breaks we don't need and didn't ask for. that's not right. it's not fair. we all want a government that lives within its means but there are still things we need to pay for as a country. things like new roads and bridges, weather satellites and food inspection. services to veterans and medical research. and keep in mind that under a balanced approach, the 98 percent of americans who make under $250,000 would see no tax increases at all. none. in fact, i want to extend the payroll tax cut for working families. what we're talking about under a balanced approach is asking americans whose incomes have gone up the most over the last decade, millionaires and billionaires to share in the sacrifice everyone else has to make. and i think these patriotic americans are willing to pitch in. in fact, over the last few decades they've pitched in
every time we passed a bipartisan deal to reduce the deficit. the first time a deal was passed a predecessor of mine made the case for a balanced approach by saying this: would you rather reduce deficits and interest rates by raising revenue from those who are not now paying their fair share, or would you rather accept larger budget deficits, higher interest rates and higher unemployment. and i think i know your answer. those words were spoken by ronald reagan. but today many republicans in the house refuse to consider this kind of balanced approach. an approach that was pursued not only by president reagan but by the first president bush, by president clinton, by myself and by many democrats and republicans in the united states senate. so we're left with a stalemate. now what makes today's stalemate so dangerous is that it has been tied to something known as the debt
ceiling. a term that most people outside of washington have probably never heard of before. understand raising the debt ceiling does not allow congress to spend more money. it simply gives our country the ability to pay the bills that congress has already racked up. in the past raising the debt ceiling was routine. since the 1950s congress has always passed it. and every president has signed it. president reagan did it 18 times. george w. bush did it seven times. and we have to do it by next tuesday, august 2nd, or else we won't be able to pay all of our bills. unfortunately for the past several weeks republican house members have essentially said that the only way they'll vote to prevent america's first ever default is if the rest of us agree to their deep spending cuts only approach. if that happens and we default, we would not have enough money to pay all of
our bills. bills it that include monthly social security checks, veterans' benefits and the government contracts we've signed with thousands of businesses. for the first time in history our country's aaa credit rating would be downgraded leaving investors around the world to wonder whether the united states is still a good bet. interest rates would skyrocket on credit cards, on mortgages and on car loans. which amounts to a huge tax hike on the american people. we would risk sparking a deep economic crisis. this one caused almost entirely by washington. so defaulting on our obligations is a reckless and irresponsible outcome to this debate. and the republican leaders say that they agree we must avoid default. but the new approach that speaker boehner unveiled today which would temporarily extend the debt ceiling in exchange for
spending cuts would force us to once again face the threat of default just six months from now. in other words, it doesn't solve the proble first of all, a six month extension of the debt ceiling might not be enough to avoid a credit downgrade and the higher interest rates that all americans would have to pay as a result. we know what we have to do to reduce our deficits. there's no point in putting the economy at risk by kicking the can further down the road. but there's an even greater danger to this approach. based on what we've seen these past few weeks, we know what to expect six months from now. the house of representatives will once again refuse to prevent default unless the rest of us accept their cuts-only approach. again they will refuse to ask the wealthiest americans to give up their tax cuts or deductions. again, they will demand harsh cuts to programs like medicare. and once again the economy will be held captive unless
they get their way. this is no way to run the greatest country on earth. it's a dangerous game that we have never played before. and we can't afford to play it now. not when the jobs and livelihoods of so many families are at stake. we can't allow the american people to become collateral damage to washington's political warfare. and congress now has 1 week left to act. and they're still pass forward. the senate has introduced a plan to avoid default which makes a down payment on deficit reduction and ensures that we don't have to go through this again in six months. i think that's a much better approach. although serious deficit reduction would still require does to tackle the tough challenges 6 entitlement and tax reform. either way, i've told leaders of both parties that they must come up with a fair compromise in the next few days that can pass both houses of congress.
and a compromise that i can sign. i'm confident we can reach this compromise. despite our disagreements, republican leaders and i have found common ground before. and i believe that enough members of both parties will ultimately put politics aside and help us make progress. now i realize that a lot of the new members of congress and i don't see eye-to-eye on many issues. but we were each elected by some of the same americans for some of the same reasons. yes, many want government to start living within its means, and many are fed up with a system in which the deck seems stacked against middle class americans in favor of the wealthiest few. but you know what people are fed up with most of all? they're fed up with a town where compromise has become a dirty word. they work all day long, many of them scraping by just to put food on the table.
and when these americans come home at night, bone tired, and turn on the news, all they see is the same partisan three-ring circus here in washington. they see leaders who can't seem to come together and do what it takes to make life just a little bit better for ode americans. they're offended by that. and they should be. the american people may have voted for divided government, but they didn't vote for a dysfunctional government. so i'm asking you all to make your voice heard. if you want a balanced approach to reducing the deficit, let your member of congress know. if you believe we can solve this problem through compromise, send that message. america after all has always been a grand experiment in compromise. as a democracy made up of every race and religion, where every belief and point of view is welcomed, we have put to the test time and again the proposition at the
heart of our founding, that out of many, we are one. we've engaged in fierst and passionate debates about the issues of the day. but from slavery to war, from civil liberties to questions of economic justice, we have tried to live by the words that jefferson once wrote, every man cannot have his way in all things. without this mutual disposition, we are disjointed individuals, but not a society. history is scattered with the stories of thos who held fast to rigid ideologies and refused to listen to those who disagreed. but those are not the americans we remember. we remember the americans who put country above self and set personal grievances aside for the greater good. we remember the americans who held this country together during its most difficult hours, who put aside pride and party to form a more perfect union.
that's who we remember. that's who we need to be right now. the entire world is watching. so let's seize this moment to show why the united states of america is still the greatest nation on earth. not just because we can still keep our word and meet our obligations, but because we can still come together as one nation. thank you, god bless you. and may god bless the united states of america. >> ifill: that's president obama speaking from the east room of the white house. we will hear shortly from house speaker boehner but first insight from our political insider. david, it was interesting to hear the president use terms like dangerous game, collateral damage, political warfare, partisan three-ring circus. he was speaking over the heads of washington and into american living rooms.
>> there's no doubt about it. in fact, i think, gwen, what we saw here was a harvard trained lawyer making his closing argument in this battle, and trying to teach the american people what the stakes are here. even including that urging of sort of calling your members of congress. if you are's somebody who gets a social security check or you are a veteran that et gos veteran benefits the president was trying to speak to you, asking you to get engaged and call your member of congress to support his point of view. he lays out, his plan is very bald. i'm sure what we will hear from speaker boehner doesn't describe the obama plan that way. >> ifill: how unusual is it to hear a president come and talk about what is basically a legislative dispute in a prime time national address? >> i do think that part of the words you were describing earlier get at exactly this point it is historic. it's not that often we see a presidential address followed by a response by the opposition party if it's not state of the union night. but we are a week away from this deadline. and so the stakes are so high, gwen, the president
didn't want to lose this opportunity. he feels he's been sort of winning the message war here trying to keep that upper hand. and he just didn't want to let any more time go by without, again, speaking to the american people and trying to make this argument. >> ifill: briefly today we saw new proposals from nor reid and speaker boehner but we haven't really heard anything more from the white house except this speech tonight. are they closer or farther apart? >> well, i think you heard in in the speech. the president declared it still a stalemate and that is where we stand at this day. those two plans would be impossible to sort of bridge together in a conference on capitol hill. they're still quite far apart. >> ifill: and what is it going to take to bring them bag together, another meeting we think? we're going to be moving to the white house? >> i think both chambers are going to go through this process now. >> ifill: here is speaker john boehner. >> speaker of the whole house, of the members of both parties that you elect. these are difficult times in the life of our nation. millions are looking for work and have been for some time.
and this going on in washington is a big part of the reason why. before i served in congress i ran a small business in ohio. i was amazed at how different washington d.c. operated than every other business in america. where most american businesses make the hard choices to pay their bills, live within their means. in washington, more spending and more debt is business as usual. well, i've got news for washington, those days are over. president obama came to congress in january and requested businesses as usual. he had ner routine increase in the national debt, but we in the house said not so fast. here was a president asking for the largest debt increase in american history on the heels of the largest spending binge in american history. and here's what we got for that massive spending binge. a new health-care bill that most americans never asked for. a stimulus bill that's more effective in producing material for late night comedians than it was in producing jobs. and a national debt that has
gotten so out of hand it sparked a crisis without precedent in my lifetime or yours. the united states cannot default on its debt obligations. the jobs and savings of too many americans are at stake. what we told the president in january was this, that the american people will not accept an increase in the debt limit without significant spending cuts and refrorms. and over the last six months we've done our best to convince the president to partner with us to do something dramatic to change the fiscal trajectory of our country, something that will boost confidence in our economy, renew a measure of faith in our government, enough small businesses get back on track. last week the house passed such a plan and with bipartisan support. it's called the cut, cap and balance act. it cuts and caps government spending and paves the way for a balanced budget amendment to the constitution which we believe is the best way to stop washington from spending money that it doesn't have. before we even pass the bill
in the house the president said he would veto it. i want you to know i made a sincere effort to work with the president, to identify a path forward that would implement the principleses of cut, cap and balance, in a man their could secure bipartisan support and be signed into law. and i'll tell you i gave it my all. unfortunately, the president would not take yes for an answer. even when we thought we might be close to an agreement, the president's demands changed. the president has often said we need a balanced approach which in washington means we spend more, and you pay more. having run a small business i know those tax increases will destroy jobs. the president is adamant that we cannot mak fundamental changes to our entitlement programs. as a father of two daughters i know these programs won't be there for them and their kids unless significant action is taken now. and the sad truth is that the president wanted a blank check six months ago. and he wants a blank check today.
this is just not going to happen. you see there's no stalemate here in congress. the house passed a bill to raise the debt limit with bipartisan support and this week while the senate is struggling to pass a bill filled with phoney accounting and washington gimmicks, we're going to pass another bill, one that was developed with the support of the bipartisan leadership of the u.s. senate. obviously i expect that bill can and will pass the senate. and be sent to the president for a signature. and if the president signs it, the crisis atmosphere that he has created will simply disappear. the debt limit will be raised. spending will be cut by more than $1 trillion and a serious bipartisan committee of the congress will begin the hard but necessary work of dealing with the tough challenges our nation faces. the individuals doing this work will not be outsiders but elected representatives of the people doing the job they were elected to do as outlined in the constitution. those decisions should be made based on how they're
going to affect people who are struggling to get a job. not how they will affect some politician's chances of getting re-elected. this debate isn't about president obama and house republicans. it isn't about congress and the white house. it's about what is standing between the american people and the future we seek for ourselves and our families. you know i've always believed the bigger the government the smaller the people. and right now we've got a government so big and so expensive it's sapping the drive out of our people and keeping our economy from running at full capacity. the solution to this crisis is not complicated. if you are spending more money than you're taking in, you need to spend less of it. there's no symptom of big government more menacing than our debt. break its grip and we begin to liberate our economy and our future. we're up to the task. and i hope president obama will join us in this work. gord bless you and your family, and god bless the united states of america.
>> ifill: that was speaker john boehner speaking from the ceremonial offices at the u.s. capitol. now we go back to newshour political editor. we have a little bit of warring bully pulpits. we heard words like blank check and gimmicks to describe what the democrats are talking about, david s that what you heard? >> he did say gimmicks and that was an important word, gwen because that is how he is describing what harry reid the senate majority leader and the democrats and the senate have proposed here. both chambers now, the republicans in the house, the democrats in the senate are actually now proposing a cuts-only package in order to raise the debt ceiling but they go about those cuts very differently. and speaker boehner is saying that the democrat approximates in the senate are relying on gim i believes by saying that they will cut a trillion dollars but unwinding the iraq and afghanistan wars and that shouldn't be part of the budgeting this process. the other thing i thought speaker boehner said that was quite interesting was that he kept saying that this is a crisis that the president has created.
so you do see some of that blame game going on as you were saying from each of these bully pulpits. >> ifill: he said this was in stalemate in congress, even though after watching the two plans that neither agreed on would you thought the stalemate was happening somewhere. >> right. i think the speaker is trying to avoid sort of being labeled as intransigent. he has a tough job. he has the house republicans in his conference who simp, many of them won't vote to increase the debt limit no matter what but simply don't want to budge in any way whatsoever here. and so what speaker boehner is sort of, what you hear there is him trying to put off the blame elsewhere. he doesn't want to accept it all on his turf. >> ifill: we have about ten seconds left. what has to happen next. they're both saying opposite things? >> well, they both have to get to their sort of conferences. what can pass both chambers. the country did vote for divided government last year and now it's up to them to make it work as the president said and it has to be something he can sign. >> ifill: thank you so much for joining us again, david.
>> thank you. >> and that concludes our live coverage of president obama's address and speaker boehner's response. on the stalemate in washington over the debt ceiling and budget deficits. some pbs stations will be leaving us now and we will see you again here tomorrow night. for others, the pbs fusshour continues in a moment. -- pbs newshour conditions in a moment. >> ifill: so as washington struggles with a solution what might americans have to fear if an agreement isn't reached in time. for that i spoke earlier this evening with nariman behravesh of ihs insight and kill huh of the pew center of the state. >> we were talking about consequences here tonight. they seem to move a few steps forward, a few steps back, which are the consequences we think are are theoretical and which
ones are rule? >> well, i think a default is theoretical in the sense that the treasury department would not default on our interest payments. that would be a top priority. so i don't think there will even be a technical default. that's the least likely of all the scenarios. the most likely if in fact we go past the august 2 deadline is in fact slashing all kinds of spending including, one has to say, social security, because it's a 40% gap between revenues and spending. that's a big gap. it means a lot of programs would be cut. that would drive the u.s. into a recession. i think that's a much more likely scenario than a default scenario. it just seems inconceivable that the treasury department would not pay on our debt. that would create all kinds of havoc financially here and globally. so i don't think they'll do that. >> ifill: let me ask you a question in addition to that on friday night people said when the markets open on monday
morning there is going to be a big effect because of the deal that fell apart on friday night. yet we didn't see that much of an effect. why is that? >> well, i think a lot of people are second-guessing how financial investors and financial markets are going to react. and they've been wrong and wrong again. most of the markets are a little jittery, a little nervous, but they're not panicked yet. i think the heat will get turned up, as it were, as we head closer to august 2. but right now i would say markets are nervous but not panicked. >> ifill: nervous but not panicked. let's talk about the stakes, because a lot of this trickles down in interesting ways beyond what is happening in washington. and beyond what's happening on wall street. are there states who are bracing for any kind of impact? >> they are. what you have to remember is that if the federal government defaults, the safest government asset worldwide would get downgraded by the major credit
agencies, and that will have a downstream effect. it could become much more difficult for states and localities to borrow. they might have lack of access to the market or they might pay more in order to borrow in the long-term if a federal default takes place. >> ifill: when we hear ratings agencies threatening to, or at least considering downgrading the federal debt, how does that affect the state? >> well, you have to remember, states borrow for economically productive reasons. they are different from the federal government. they borrow to operate, to keep the lights on and doors open but the state governments and local governments borrow for financing of long-term projects like bridges and tunnels and infrastructure and things of that nature. those projects are economically productive. they create jobs in the communities. and if they have to postpone those projects because they can't access the credit markets in an affordable way or can't access them at all, that's going to have a consequence for them. >> ifill: how tightly is their ability to borrow tied to the federal ability to borrow? >> as i mentioned, the federal government is... the u.s. treasuries are the safest asset worldwide. 15 other states out of the 50
have a triple a rating like the federal government, but moody's as well as other credit agencies have said that they would put even the triple a-rated states under review if the federal government were to default and subsequently get downgrade there are states whose economies rely on federal spending and have large concentration of federal facilities, employees and things of that nature. so it's going to have an impact. >> ifill: mr. behravesh, people think how does this affect me? will my credit card interest rates go up, will my mortgage go up, should i take my retirement money i'm saving and put it someplace else? is there a connection there? >> there is a potential connection in the sense that if the u.s. were to default, we would see a big spike in long- term interest rates, so that would affect mortgage rates. it would affect car lending rates. it would affect business lending rates. so all of that could be quite problematic for the whole economy. so that's why, you know, certainly the treasury
department and one has to say the federal reserve as well very worried about this. and want to avoid this at all costs. >> ifill: does it have to actually occur or is merely this delay, this debate, is that already putting its own drag on these areas of the economy? >> well, so far i say the uncertainty about what is exactly going to happen, what's going to get cut, what could be affected is giving a lot of consumers and businesses pause, if you will, making it quite risk-averse. and one of the reasons we're going through a soft patch, it's not the only reason, one of the reasons is this uncertainty. and what is triggering is risk aversion on the part of businesses and consumers. so already in a sense they're anticipating or worried about what might happen and pulling back. >> ifill: as we sit here tonight part of the debate happening in washington is whether any solution should be a short-term solution or long-term solution. the president said he will not sign anything that doesn't take
us past the next selection. and a lot of folks on the hill are saying no, we just want to get maybe toward the end of the year. does it matter? >> i think it does. states are required by law, their own constitutions, to balance their budget at the beginning of every year. vermont is the only exception but they make that a practice. they just engaged in four years of very difficult cuts and tax increases in order to close $480 billion worth of shortfall. and there's a lot of uncertainty in the air. so if the federal government defaults and essentially has to prioritize payments moving forward, that uncertainty is going to have an impact on states and their ability to deliver important services like health care and education to their community. >> ifill: let me ask you this and i will ask mr. behravesh as well, as we are sitting on the side waiting to see if a deal can be struck, is there a contingency plan that ought to be in place or can be in place to stop us from going over the cliff here? >> i don't know about going over the cliff. but states are certainly putting
in contingency plans. treasury lock leer of california has asked banks to give them, the state, a $5 billion line of credit. because he knows he will have cash flow difficulties if the federal government were to default. governor mcdonald in virginia, for example, has made arrangements with the state's own treasury to cover the federal portion of medicaid should the federal government goes into default and it's not able to transfer that money to the states. so states are putting in plans but at the same time the uncertainty is real in a lot of states. they are watching this conversation carefully. >> ifill: mr. behravesh, in the longer sense what kind of contingency plans are people putting in place or should they be putting in place? >> i think the contingency plans we're keeping an eye on are those of the federal reserve. because if you consider a situation where we might default or would default and the markets panic, in effect, and there is a sell-off in u.s. government bonds-- which is what the result
would be-- the fed indirectly, but going into the markets, could easily buy a lot of government securities and prevent that sell-off, or at least limit the damage from that sell-off. so we're quite convinced the fed already has contingency plans in the event that something like this happened. and its goal, of course, is to minimize the economic damage from something like this. >> ifill: we have heard the chairman of the fed talk about the catastrophic potential here but we haven't heard him say what he would do. do you think that's even part of the plan? >> very much so. he's going to keep his powder dry, he's going to keep his cart close to his vest, but there's no debate that the fed has probably multiple contingency plans for a situation like this. they do not want the u.s. economy to be driven back into recession because of, essentially, bickering in washington. >> nariman behravesh of the
i.h.s. global insight and kill huh, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> brown: still to come on the newshour, the attack in norway, and right-wing extremism in europe; and somalia's humanitarian crisis. >> sreenivasan: the new american ambassador to afghanistan was sworn in today and pledged there would be no rush to the exits. ryan crocker takes over as the u.s. begins withdrawing 10,000 troops by the end of the year. he said the u.s. has no interest in using afghanistan to influence neighboring nations. meanwhile, the nato toll in afghanistan grew by one today. an italian paratrooper was killed in an insurgent attack in the west. so far in july, 44 international troops have been killed in afghanistan. the government of syria endorsed a draft law allowing other political parties to form. the move is part of a series of reforms president bashar al assad and his ruling ba'ath party promised in the face of a popular uprising. but the opposition has dismissed the law as largely symbolic.
it came as syrian security forces detained more people in damascus and other cities for holding antigovernment protests. the maid who accused former i.m.f. chief dominique strauss- kahn of sexually assaulting her in a manhattan hotel room broke her silence today. nafissatou diallo told "newsweek," "i want him to go to jail, i want him to know there are some places you cannot use your power." she also told her side of the story in a televised interview with abc news. prosecutors have voiced concerns about her credibility, and are weighing whether to proceed with the case. strauss-kahn has denied the allegations against him. for more on this we're joined by john solomon, news director at "newsweek" and the "daily beast," who spent three hours with diallo during a recent interview. >> glad to be here. >> sreenivasan: so after those three hours what about her side of the story struck you most?
>> the general consistency from what we heard from the public and saw on the indictment. she told the story to a lot of people, detectives, hospital workers, the grand jurors and the prosecutors. and everything we heard sounded very much like the body of evidence that we've gathered at "newsweek" when we did the story, conforming to hotel key records and phone records. and there were also moments where you saw her evasiveness, her reluctance to talk about things, particularly about her past in africa when. i think that also struck us. >> sreenivasan: what was the reason that she gave for why she's coming out now? is the relationship between the prosecution that frayed? >> yes, i think it's really two factors. one is that the relationship with the prosecutors has really gone south in the last month. after her lawyer came forward and disclosed some of the problems with her prior credibility, things went south there. and i think the second part is, she personally was offended by the media coverage where she is portrayed as a prostitute and gold-digging con artist and she
wanted to correct the record. she said it really bothered her watching tv, seeing these headlines and being portrayed as something she felt she wasn't. >> suarez: john solman of "newsweek" and the daily beast, thank you very much for being with us. >> my pleasure. >> sreenivasan: the united auto workers opened contract talks with chrysler today, the first in a new round of negotiations with all the detroit automakers. company and union officials wore matching jackets in a show of solidarity as they kicked off the talks. workers are pushing for a bigger share of the profits, but chrysler is looking to keep costs down. u.a.w. members gave up raises and benefits to keep the industry afloat four years ago. chrysler's current contract with the union expires in mid- september. the national football league and its players have reached an agreement that will end a four- month-old lockout. representatives of the players association met today in washington and voted unanimously to accept a ten-year deal struck over the weekend with team owners. that bargain now goes to the players association, but is expected to pass. training camps could begin as early as wednesday, and the regular season would begin september 8 as scheduled. opponents of new york's gay marriage law sued to overturn it today.
marriage ceremonies started yesterday, the first day same- sex couples could legally wed under a new state law. hundreds of gay couples across the state began tying the knot. opponents claim the new york senate stopped lawmakers from speaking against the bill and that it didn't go through the proper committees before coming to a vote in late june. new york joins five other states and the district of columbia in legalizing gay marriage. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we turn to norway, as that country mourns the victims of friday's bombing and shooting attacks, and begins the court process against the killer. we start with a report from carl dinnen of independent television news in oslo. >> anders breivak was rushed to court today. in the back seat he smiled, looks relaxed. although breivik admits the killing, he denies he's guilty of a crime. one small mercy today, the
police admitted he had shot dead 68 people on the island, not 86 as they had originally thought. >> the police and personnel had a very demanding task on the island. just after they arrived. and it was necessary to give priority to those who were injured, and to secure the whole area. in these complex situations the number of deaths first reported were too high. >> in oslo hundreds had gathered outside the courthouse. but the court rules that the remand hearing would be heard in closed session. what are the reasons for holding a closed hearing today? >> it's because of the further investigation and also security. this is a very special matter. >> reporter: but after the short hearing the judge emerged to relay through his translator
breivik's first explanation for his murderous actions. >> the accused explained that the labor party has failed the country and its people and the price of their treason was what they had to pay yesterday. his intention was not to kill as many people as possible but to give a strong signal that cannot be misunderstood. that as long as the labor party keeps driving its ideological line and keeps destructive norwegian culture and mass importing muslims, then they must assume responsibility for this treason. >> in court breivik claim there were two more cells in his organization. while the police investigate his claims, he has been remanded in solitary confinement for the next eight weeks. a short time earlier at 12 noon oslo time there was a minute silence. norway's king, queen and prime
minister led the act of remembrance from the steps of the university. in oslo the trams stood still, the rescue workers paused, and across scandinavia the moment was marked. then, by the field of flowers at the cathedral,. some people began to sing the wds of a famous poem written for the young people of norway. ♪ >> brown: hours before he carried out his attacks, anders breivik published an extended manifesto on the internet. it detailed his belief, among other things, that islam poses an existential threat to european culture, and that many politicians are complicit in allowing that to happen. we talk about breivik and the broader issue of extremism with jonathan birdwell, a researcher at demos, a british think tank. his latest book, "the edge of violence," looks at the relationship between violent and non-violent radicals in europe and canada.
and david art, an associate professor of political science at tufts university. his latest book is "inside the radical right: the development of anti-immigrant parties in western europe." jonathan bridwell, i will start with you. you had a chance to look at this so-called manifesto posted by anders breivak. broadly speaking what dow find there? >> well, it's quite a comprehensive document. he outlines what he sees as the two main enemies as we've heard. mainly the growth of islam in europe and the culture of islam which he sees as a political ideology, and also what he calls cultural marxism or multiculturalism which he sees a as something which allowed immigration in europe and basically they are the reason
why europe is suffering what he thinks is a crisis of cultural self-confidence. so this document outlines his ideology, but it also outlines what he thinks the so-called european resistance movement needs to do in the next 50 years to fight this threat that he perceives. >> and are there commonalities of ideas of themes? you look at a lot of other extremist groups and their writings on the web and elsewhere. are there commonalities that you see? >> well, there are certainly commonalities with other far right groups in terms of the threats of islam, the kind of shift from race-based arguments to a kind of emphasis on culture and the incompatability with islam and european culture. but i think what's quite interesting about breivik and unique is the idea that he sees himself as a kind of christian martyr. he believes that he is a member of the knights templar, which is a medieval organization back in the crusades. so far as i know, that
organization isn't currently in existence. so i think that's an interesting unique aspect to breivik compared to other extremist far right groups at the moment. >> brown: david art, let me bring you in. we want to be careful to distinguish between one horrific violent act and nonviolent political actions around europe, but for context here, the kind of issues we're talking about, to what extent have they become part of the mainstream debate in areas that you study and part of today's politics in europe? >> well, they very much have. you talked about mainstream parties. it was angela merkel about a year ago who talked about multiculturalism has failed. you see similar discourse from nicolas sarkozy, and these are obviously mainstream european politicians. within radical right political parties-- and i would distinguish, you are quite right
to distinguish from the far right radical political parties with a more extra parliamentary right-wing subculture-- among the former these ideas are really their signature issues: anti-immigration and particularly anti-islam. >> brown: and how much power do these parties have in norway and in scandinavia in particular? >> well, in norway they are not currently a member of the government, but they won mid-20% of the vote in the last election. they tolerated on minority government between 2001 and 2005. in denmark they are essentially part of a governing coalition there. recently in finland the true finns, a party that came from really nowhere, did quite well. they're a little small never sweden. they are represented in parliament, but they don't have the same influence in sweden as
they do in norway and denmark. but in all four countries that i've mentioned, they are major players. >> brown: now jonathan birdwell, coming back to the more extreme and violent expressions of this, what is known about the makeup and size of those expressions throughout europe and in scandinavia in particular? >> right, well the past three or four years we've seen a kind of growth in these kind of street- based movements. the main one is in the u.k. called the english defense league. now these groups mainly organize demonstrations. they're very kind of loosely organized. and we've seen the growth in these movements across europe and scandinavia to varying degrees of success. we're actually currently in the middle of doing research into street-based movements across europe. and as i said, it varies significantly. on the one hand you have the very far extreme neo-nazi type groups and then the broader groups that are more populist and more focused on anti- immigration. so you definitely have seen a
broader mobilization in the past three or four years of these groups. now the violent side of it is still quite small. but the risk is that the rhetoric of these broader groups, these street-based groups, can feed into the individuals like breivik who are more motivated towards violence. >> and is it known, as much known about how well organized these groups are either within countries or in different countries? >> well, it's difficult to determine. like i said, the organizations are quite loosely based. they make use of the internet. they focus on demonstrations. so for example the english defense league is by far the largest. they have 72,000 members on facebook and they attract on average 2,000 to 3,000 members to their demonstrations. but that is significantly larger than other groups in other european countries. so i was just in denmark doing research, and the fringe groups
there are more in terms of 20 to 30 active members but with the broader membership of around 300 to 400. so that was in denmark. so it's quite a large degree of variation. >> and david art, you know, right after this latest incident, of course political parties everywhere, right wing or otherwise, denounced the act and wanted to separate themselves. now how did that jive with the normal process there between some of the right wing political parties and the more extremist groups? do they try to separate themselves normally? >> normally, yes. and i mean the issue, one of the issues with breivik of course is that he was a member both of the progress party. he was a member of the youth wing before leaving the party-- and of the extra parliamentary right.
so the question is how do these two spheres interact and you're quite right that most radical right parties have denounced breivik and distanced themselves from it. looking at the internet reaction you see only the most extremist fringes celebrating or at least not denouncing, at least not denouncing breivik. i think that obviously people have said well maybe the left sees an opportunity here to in some sort of morbid way make political play of this. so that, the debate that we're having right now and obviously are going to have for several months, is similar to the one that we have i think in the united states after loughner. i tend to see breivik-- just to differ with jonathan a bit on the organization of the violent extremist milieu-- they're relatively historically have been quite poorly organized. and fragmented. and the state's interior ministry in various countries
have really been able to penetrate what organization there is, particularly in germany and to a lesser extent in sweden, too. so i see the movement probably as less organized as jonathan does, but it certainly does have the potential for mobilization. >> brown: all right. we will leave it there. thank you very much, david art and jonathan birdwell in london. thanks a lot. >> brown: much-needed aid is on the way to more than 11 million famine victims in east africa. the world bank today pledged to donate some $500 million in assistance to the drought- ravaged horn of africa. kevin rudd, australia's minister for foreign affairs, witnessed conditions firsthand today at a u.n. world food program camp in somalia. he warned that the situation is dire. >> this will be five times as bad come the end of the year if we don't act now.
it's as simple as that. people like the brits, the canadians, ourselves, we put our best foot forward and there are other countries as well, but we do need more. but it is a direct appeal to people across the world, governments across the world to do their bit. >> brown: a u.n. donors conference set for wednesday in nairobi, kenya, will try to raise as much as a billion dollars in aid money. meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled from somalia into kenya. martin geissler of independent telelvision news is spending time at three hospitals there this week. and be advised: this story contains disturbing images. >> reporter: this is the biggest humanitarian crisis on earth. the intensive care unit at this hospital. the children they treat here have made it out of somalia but only just. the influx of refugees has put a huge pressure on state and staff. they only admit the most serious cases.
today, like every day, the ward is full to bursting. as we film the mother arrived with her baby. when doctors saw minage even they were shocked. >> this is a very sick child. >> age just 7 months but the haggard face of a sick old man. >> i need some light. >> he is so dehydrated the staff struggle to find a vein. eventually they connected a drip and gave him vital fluids. the sir ing was bigger than its tiny arm. bewildered and terrified, he couldn't muster the strength to cry, just a haunting silent scream. >> if this child hadn't come in here, would he have been alive tonight? >> no, no, i don't think. i don't think. very lucky. >> it's amazing. yesterday we found arden in this ward.
he's three. believe it or not, he weighs less than 12.5 pounds. a healthy child's weight at six months. his grandmother says the family walked here from somalia. it took them four weeks. this morning the nasal feeding tube was gone. he was sitting up and drinking. he had put weight on. with a little help and the right care, the human body can work miracles. >> this is the best gift i think i can give to any human being. i'm very joyful because that affects somebody's life and at the end of the day, the child will do very well. it gives me inner peace and joy. >> tonight in the hospital, the hard work continues. the horrors of somalia's famine countered by the hope. minaj makes a wonderful noise. >> screaming. >> he's crying. >> yeah. >> good. >> it's a good sign. >> the crucial first few hours have gone well. but there's a long fight ahead.
>> brown: and again, the major developments of the day, in a televised address to the nation president obama warned a government default would be reckless and irresponsible. and would mean the u.s. doesn't have enough money to pay its bills. he called on lawmakers to find a quote fair compromise. speaker of the house john boehner responded saying the president wants a blank check and is to the going to get it he said the solution to the debt crisis is easy, spend less money. and a norwegian man who claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing and shooting rampage appeared in court as the nation paused to mourn the victims. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm jeffrey brown. >> and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you on-line and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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